The Korea Herald


Education Ministry receives over 300 reports of alleged hagwon misconduct

Two-week reporting period ends, but ministry to continue monitoring industry

By Lee Jung-youn

Published : July 7, 2023 - 16:01

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Education Vice Minister Jang Sang-yun speaks during the press briefing at Government Complex Sejong, Friday. (Yonhap) Education Vice Minister Jang Sang-yun speaks during the press briefing at Government Complex Sejong, Friday. (Yonhap)

The Education Ministry has asked police to investigate cases of inappropriate ties between private education institutions and officials overseeing Korea's annual college entrance exam, after it received hundreds of reports on alleged misconduct by hagwon, authorities said Friday.

It received a total of 325 reports during a two-week reporting period that ended Thursday, 81 of which were classified as "private education cartels" and 285 as "irregularities," the ministry said in a press briefing.

Private education cartels refer to private education companies having inappropriate ties with each other, or with Suneung officials, for the purpose of private interests. "Irregularities" include cases like excessive collection of teaching fees and exaggerated advertising.

The Education Ministry has asked the police to investigate two separate cases involving links between lecturers at a large hagwon, a private cram school, and Suneung officials. The name of the institution was not disclosed.

Fourteen cases were handed over to the Fair Trade Commission, and a total of 24 cases are being investigated, including 10 previously handed over to the FTC on Monday.

Some 160 cases will be handled by the Office of Education, including reports of violations of the private teaching institutions law. Another 63 are under further review.

In addition, the Ministry of Education conducted a joint inspection of 25 large hagwon from June 26, and has detected several illegal building modifications to accommodate more students and violations of the obligation to post fixed teaching fees.

The website and reporting center for alleged hagwon misconduct will remain operating. The ministry said it will also continue to work with related agencies through a pangovernment council formed with the Fair Trade Commission and the police, to further monitor the hagwon industry.

The pangovernment response council with the Education Ministry, the FTC, and the police was set up after President Yoon Suk Yeol said it would crack down on private education cartels last month.